Rizla Suzuki has confirmed that Alvaro Bautista will try and return to MotoGP action in this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix, just 42 days after breaking his left femur in practice for round one of the season in Qatar.

Bautista has been undergoing intensive physiotherapy to reach a sufficient level of fitness to be able to take to the track on Friday - but must first pass a full medical.

If Bautista is unable to ride, or not sufficiently competitive, Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki will be on stand-by to take over - but Bautista's clear target is to compete in the grand prix.

"I have been working very hard to be back in time for Estoril and I believe I will be able to take part in the race," he said. "I know it will be difficult, but I think the sooner I can get on the bike the more it will aid my total recovery and help my way to full fitness.

"I have travelled over 4,500km with many journeys to the hyperbaric chamber in Madrid to assist with my healing - I have been there so many times I could close my eyes and go without problems!

"I have now finished the rehabilitation phase and started on the physical preparation; this involves a lot of swimming, cycling and other fitness programmes to build up the strength so I can ride again.

"It is going to be really tough, but I am totally focused on being on the GSV-R in Portugal, it's all I can think about at the moment and that is my first goal. After that we'll see what happens and take everything one step at a time."

The Spaniard is Suzuki's only MotoGP rider this year and John Hopkins, who replaced Bautista for round two at Jerez and finished tenth in the wet race, is unavailable this weekend due to BSB commitments.

It's a difficult situation for Suzuki and Bautista, but Suzuki legend Kevin Schwantz recently advised against Bautista trying to make an early comeback.

"I know Bautista is going to be as keen as he can to come back, but with the injury he suffered he really needs to take his time and be 100 percent when he gets back on the bike," the 1993 world champion told Crash.net.

"An injury like that, the biggest bone in your body, is not something you want to play around with - bending the rod that's in there, tweaking everything around when it's not fully healed.

"It's just unfortunate right now that they don't have a great replacement. I think Hopkins got absolutely everything he could, in the conditions, out of the Suzuki. But of course John's got a commitment to BSB now.

"Maybe it's the opportunity for them to put some different people on the bike and try some new riders - whether it's British guys, American guys, Australians.

"This situation has really shown what having two riders in a team does for you. When one rider is down you at least have the opportunity for the second rider to still get the result you were looking for and get the exposure that the team and sponsors need.

"Suzuki have got a really tough season ahead of them and I hope Bautista waits a little bit longer than perhaps he wants to before he gets back onto the bike. He needs to be 100 percent fit, not 75 percent. That's for sure," concluded Schwantz.



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